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Byline: Kristin Jackson
Despite the war in Iraq and all the uncertainty it brings, Americans still are traveling. Some are hopping on planes to far-off places, others are sticking closer to home.
If you're a stay-close-to-home type, who's wary of wartime travel or simply short on time and money, southwest British Columbia is an easygoing destination of staggering natural beauty and a wide choice of places to stay.
In these times, it's a place to find solace in seaside places, particularly on Vancouver Island and the adjacent Gulf Islands. Even B.C.'s two big cities, Vancouver and Victoria, have natural escapes in their urban hearts. And on the practical side, you can drive to these destinations and the exchange rate is favorable.
Here, drawn from my visits over the years, are suggestions on areas to visit and how to find your own hideaway.
_Long Beach/Pacific Rim park
This is the quintessential wild Pacific coast on the west coast of Vancouver Island. About 14 miles of wave-pounded, sandy beaches are protected _ yet easily accessible on short trails or from beachside parking lots _ within the Long Beach section of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Walk the beach, poke around the tidepools, sit and watch the sun set.
Stay in Tofino or Ucluelet, two fishing/logging …